Due to the war of 1940s, many women began working at Ford, GM, and Chrysler factories. The name “Rosie the Riveter” became most closely associated with another real woman, Rose Will Monroe, who was born during 1920 in Pulaski County, Kentucky, who later moved to Michigan during World War II. She worked as a riveter building B-29 and B-24 bombers for the U.S. Army Air Forces at Willow Run Aircraft factory located in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
By 1944, Rosie the Riveter inspired a social movement that increased the number of American working women from 12 million to 20 million people, a 51% increase from 1940. Below is a woman Riveter working on the enormous wing surface of an Avenger aircraft for the U.S. Navy. This picture was taken at the Trenton plant of the Eastern Aircraft division of General Motors where the formidable planes had replaced automotive hardware on the assembly lines.
Some women were also assigned to the Aircraft Bombers parts assembly for routine working conditions making and assembling parts that were used for Bomber planes and other aircraft materials.
American women were some of those most affected by the need for women workers. Conditions were sometimes harsh and pay was not always equal. The average man working in a wartime plant was paid $56.65 per week, compared to women who were paid about $31.50. However, many women supported the war effort and it was the turning point for many women and their lives.
The wires and cable installment line was a huge responsibility for women workers. At the Hudson Motor car company located in Detroit, Michigan had lines available for women to set up and assemble wire harnesses for the Boeing B-29 superfortrees fuselage section and at the time, 30 miles of wires were needed to complete the task for the aircraft assembly line female workers.
A powerful new fighter plane, the P-63 KingCobra, was a product of Bell Aircraft Corporation of Buffalo which were built by the Hudson Motor Car company in Detroit, Michigan. The plane was named after a very venomous snake found in India and the Philippines. The KingCobra cabins were so small and compact that only one person could work inside them while they were being built.
Ms. Ruth Ripley is operating the riveting gun while Ms. Rita Sabatini holds the bucking bar in the photo above. The photo below was taken on the busy Hudson production line. Heavy bulletproof glass was placed in the windshield and roof of the cabin along the lines. Performing many operations formerly assigned to men, women were helping to resolve the manpower shortage in the production of aircraft engines.
Some women used burring tools for removing excess stock from parts which would flow from her bench assembly within the Pratt & Whitney Aircraft Engines Company. The DeSoto plant was able to utilize many female workers in the plants producing aircraft engines when wing units took shape. During the 1940′s, more than 6% of the employees within the Chrysler Corporation, in Evansville Ordnance plant were African American women who took part in the Rosie the Riveter women in the war process were inserting .45 caliber bullets in cardboard cartons.
Whether you were black, white, a grandmother, mother, daughter, sister, or the woman next door, woman were a huge part of the culture change in this country. I believe women became more empowered not only with just themselves, but also encouraged women everywhere. Rosie the Riveter provided a valuable historical resource for our history and historians from all over the world.
Story courtesy of www.motorcities.org
A special thanks to Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher, for donating the story to the MotorCities Story of the Week program. Photographs courtesy of National Automotive History Collection and some features of Bob Tate’s personal collection. Please do not use any photographs without the permission of MotorCities. For further information contact Robert Tate at firstname.lastname@example.org